KeepEmQuiet – The ultimate Travel Entertainment pack for kids !

I have seen a few posts about these bags and as I’m always looking for things to make travelling with kids easier, I got in touch with KeepEmQuiet and they sent me a bag to review on our recent trip to France.

I requested a girls pack, and this is what I received:

This pack retails for £16.99 (Long trip pack) and had snacks, toys, sticker books, a puzzle, magic painting book, a colouring book with crayons and a story book. 9 entertainment items and 4 snack items. Very good value I thought. I love how you are able to almost personalise your pack by choosing from not only Boys and Girls, but 3 age groups (1-3, 3-5 and 5-10 years) as well as the length of the journey (short, medium and long). Prices range from £10.99 up to £16.99.

Georgia loved the tiger and as she’s very into stickers at the moment, these were a god send. Our flight was 1h40 and this kept her busy for the majority of the flight which meant I could read my book and dad could catch up on some Netflix – winning !

When you check out you’re asked if you want a second pack for the return journey, which is clever. As our flight was only 1h40, our pack had enough for both the journey there and back. I kept some of the books/toys separate and gave them to her on the way back so it was all new for her too.

I normally spend a fair amount of money getting things to keep Georgia occupied during flights, so for £16.99 I felt like this travel pack was really good value for money.

These packs aren’t only great for flying, they’re perfect for car journeys too. Any journey where you’re racking your brains for things to keep your little ones busy – get yours here.

Bob Books – personalised photo books !

Earlier this year we were contacted by Bob Books to see if we wanted to try out making one of their photo books. They make for great keepsakes / gifts. Our Georgia has been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in her first 2 years so I thought what better way to savour the memories – I’m hoping to keep the book for her until she’s older and go through it with her.


If you’ve never made a photo book before, its quite simple.

 

 

I downloaded the app onto my phone, as I have all of my photos saved to my mobile. I did struggle to navigate their desktop site so was much more comfortable using the app.

You choose your book type, cover type, paper type, the size and a theme. You then choose photos you’d like to import and get to making your book. You are able to change the layout and type captions onto your pages to really personalise it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It auto populates your pics onto the pages but you’re able to crop them. It also tells you if the quality of the photo is good or not so good. The finished product is of  a very high quality.

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Bob Books are offering all Holiday Tots readers 20 % off all photo books – click here to start creating your own memory book.

Standon Calling – was our first ever family-friendly festival & we are going back this year!

The festival season is well and truly under way and family-friendly festivals are a plenty, it’s so hard to choose which one to take your kids to. We are attending a few this year and will have a round up at the end of the year, but for now we are talking about Standon Calling in Hertfordshire 27th– 29thJuly. We are so lucky to be going this year and two of our boys , both 9 years, are especially excited…

We live in Hertford and so our local kid friendly festivals are Standon Calling and new kid on the block Wilkestock. Our first ever festival with Freddie was two years ago when we spent the weekend at Standon Calling. My husband was a little dubious about attending a festival let alone with kids, he loves music and now, after a few iffy outings, actually likes camping so when he agreed to come to a festival I was so excited!

The past

Then we camped, saw Rag and Bone Man for the first time, dressed as pirates, met Kelis and more, including our dog winning happiest Festival Dog!

We have very fond memories of 2016 and so are super super excited to be attending this year.

The Future

The theme is ‘the Future’ and this weekend we plan to make our outfits, all will be revealed soon, just not sure which world to go for yet!

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The family programme looks better than ever and I am sad that we are only able to go for one day this year. There is the Panic Circus Big Top, Family Yoga, Welcome Family Disco, Campfire with Marshmallows, Trimbus Play Bus, the Hidden Wardrobe, Baby and Toddler Space, Tweens and Teens Workshops, Craft Zone Garden with interactive fun, kid friendly performances including Horrible Histories Live and Andy from Cbeebies and his smelly socks, library, Woodland Tribe and not forgetting the swimming pool and costume parade!

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As you can see it looks like a jam packed family weekend and that’s without mentioning the brilliant acts that are taking place this year! Including Paloma Faith, the Cuban Brothers, and local talent man George Ezra, who is the highlight for Freddie this year. George is his current idol, and he seems to think he will be able to give him a hug! –  love the innocence of children and famous people!

To top it all the weather looks set to be sun sun sun – we think that the boys and of course we, are going to have a blast!

Look forward to sharing our fun with you at the after blog party!

Day tickets have now sold out but there are a small amount of adult weekend tickets left – visit the website for information Standon Calling tickets

 

 

 

Magic Garden – Hampton Court Palace

If you’re looking for something different to do as a family and you’ve not visited the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, move this day out to the TOP of your list.
We’ve had some amazing weather over the past few weeks and i’m not sure about you but I just want to be outdoors in the sunshine. My little girl is definitely an outdoor child. She loves playing outside, loves a sandpit and is a definite water baby so when I saw some pics on a friends Instagram, I knew this place was perfect for her.

We left home just after breakfast to be there as it opened, at 10am. You cannot book tickets for the magic garden in advance so I wanted to get there early, especially as it was looking to be a beautiful sunny day. The cost is £7 per adult and £5.20 for children over 3 years old. Under 3’s go free.

MAGIC GARDEN MAP

Upon arrival, you are greeted by a magical childrens paradise. There is a dragon, towers, castles, a secret grotto and much more. Each area represents something different; myths, legends and stories and provides a different way for your family to explore the palaces history.

There is a buggy park on your right as well as a little cafe that sells drinks, sandwiches and coffee. There are a few tables and chairs (some covered and some out in the sun) that overlook the tournament areas and tower. There are loads of places to sit and watch your kids have the best time.

I would definitely recommend bringing the following items so that you can let your kids run wild and not have to worry.

–  SUNCREAM
– CHANGE OF CLOTHES
– SWIM SHOES
– TOWEL
– WATER BOTTLE  – there are 2 drinking water fountains in the garden.

Georgia absolutely loved splashing in the fountains and spent most of her time there – so much so that we didn’t even make it to the Maze (which is also included in the ticket price )

We will definitely be heading here again over the summer as we do have to visit the Maze, i’ve heard this is brilliant too.

Toilets and baby chance facilities are found to the right just as you walk in. If its peak season or a busy day when you visit your stay may be limited to 90 minutes. They have a coloured wrist band system and tell you what time you need to leave by. You can come back later that day if capacity allows (say after visiting the maze) which is quite a nice touch. If you have a ticket to visit the Palace itself, entry to the Magic Garden and Maze is included too. You are not allowed to picnic in the garden due to them wanting the area to be enjoyed by the kids (not having picnic set ups get in their way) and there have been rumours that the Dragon could eat your picnic blanket and all your yummy goodies if he see’s you setting one up.

One of the dragon’s top tips was to have fun, and we certainly did.

For more info click here

In The Night Garden Live – a fab family day out!

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We recently booked tickets for Georgia to go and see In The Night Garden Live – she is almost 2 and In The Night garden has been quite a big part of her life as nana introduced us to it when she was around 5 months old. Every night before her milk we watch an episode of it regardless of where we are. It’s our thing and such a nice way to have a cuddle and end the day.

I wasn’t sure if she was ready for it after booking Panto tickets at Christmas and poor daddy spent the whole show in the restaurant with her as she didn’t get into it at all. I thought that as she was a few months older and this was going to be full of her favourite characters she may be more engaged. I was excited to see how Georgia would react to her favourite characters right there in front of her and larger than life, so booked the tickets and here’s how we got on.

 

You can still see the shows at 3 venues – we went to the O2, but this showing has now finished. It is now moving to Richmond Old deer park from 16 June until the 1st of July when it heads up to Birmingham (7-22 July) and Manchester (28 July – 19 August).

There are 2 shows, the Ninky Nonk show and the Pinky Ponk show. The show lasts around 50 minutes and each show follows a different story line – but don’t worry, they both feature all the characters.

There are 2 options when buying your tickets, Standard (from £12.50 pp) and Premium (from £20 pp).  If you choose premium tickets you will get to sit in the first 5 rows. We booked standard seats and were seated in the 6th row. Its auditorium style seating so you can see from any row.

Georgia was a bit taken a back when it first started – the characters really are quite large so I think the standard seats were better for us anyway. She came around and was eventually smiling and dancing away to the songs she’s listened to every night before bed. The ticket price includes a souvenir activity book which Georgia loved.

When booking your tickets in advance you can pre book a Goody Bag worth over £60 for only £29 which is a great saving. If you don’t book it in advance you can buy one on the day for £39.00 – they really did look decent – here is what’s inside:
goody bag

Another add on is to ‘meet a character’ – this happens after the show and you will have a private 2-3 minute meeting with your chosen character. A great opportunity to give your favourite character a cuddle or get a selfie. The cost is £15 per character – you can meet either Igglepiggle or Upsy Daisy. Looking back, i’m glad we didn’t book this as I don’t think Georgia would have cooperated. The slightly older kids were loving their meetings on the day and came out with smiles from ear to ear.

Upon arrival, your tickets are checked and you’re directed to collect your goody bag and then line up in Premium or Standard seating rows. The gates open 30 minutes before the show starts. There is a bar where snacks and drinks for both kids and adults can be purchased.

vSit back, relax and enjoy watching your little ones take it all in.

Before you leave the Showdome you have another opportunity to be persuaded by your kids to spend some money. Shirts, memorabilia and balloons are available to buy. My tip would be to bring your kids’ In The Night Garden character from home so that they don’t try and get you to buy them a new one before you leave.

All in all it is a very well run and organised event. We were emailed 3 days prior with instructions on how to get there, where to park, info on baby changing facilities and where to park your buggy. They even tell you the walking time (at buggy pace) from the parking area to the Showdome.

Georgia loved it and it really was a lovely family day out. I would highly recommend it to friends with little ones who like the show.

 

Don’t miss out – book your tickets here

 

10 reason to have a family holiday in Cape Town, South Africa with young children. (old post from 2016)

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Travelling to South Africa for a little bit of winter sun is ideal for family with young children as there is just a 2 hour time difference meaning no jet lag! We took a night flight which meant our little boy slept most of the 12 hours flight time and although slightly tired managed to enjoy his first day without tears, went to bed at a respectable time and slept through! Always a good start to a holiday.

South Africa has a vast coastline that shares two bodies of water, the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean and Cape Town itself has its fair share of beaches either on the door step or within easy reach. Although the Cape can be quite windy there are still plenty of sheltered beaches to find offering fine white sand ideal for sand castle building

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Sunset in Camps Bay

Camps Bay – located within a 15 minute drive of central Cape Town this wonderful area is safe and clean, this is a tourist hot spot. There are fab restaurants, villas and apartments and a wonderful sandy beach with safe enclosed swimming bay for young children.

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the kids get to cook their masterpieces at Col’Cacchio

 

 

 

The food here is amazing and it will suit even the fussiest of eaters. The main staple seemed to be fish and meat. Famously known for their Braais the South African’s know how to prepare fine meat and fish dishes and the avocado is to die for! In fact I can honestly say it is the best avocado I have ever tasted! Couple of good chain restaurants to recommend for families basic dining are: Primi – there is one in Camps Bay, wonderful selection of tantalising dishes you won’t be disappointed and in Central Cape Town Col’Cacchio, possibly the best pizza we have ever tasted. If you are looking for a variety of foodie recommendations visit our Eating in Cape Town South Africa post. (coming shortly)

This is as close as Freddie would get! Boulders Beach

This is as close as Freddie would get! Boulders Beach

Sit with penguins on the beach! Boulders Beach is a fab beach, known for its large boulders (obviously) and very friendly penguins. The water is calm and has lots of little coves to explore too. If you want some more Cape Town area family friendly beach ideas see our top 5 beaches in and around Cape Town. (coming shortly)

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The Two Oceans Aquarium

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous aquarium. The Two Oceans Aquarium is ideal for youngsters to learn about the marine life found in the two oceans around Cape Town. So while mum, dad, uncle, aunt or older brother or sister is roughing it out at sea with the wild sharks, whales and more the more timid and younger members of the family can enjoy the legendary predator tank, touch star fish and other marine life in the touch pool and more!

The Table Cloth on Table Mountain

The Tablecloth on Table Mountain

Table Mountain and the Lions Head are the two main large attractions and our son loved the fact you could see Table Mountain from just about anywhere in Cape Town. We took a cable car to the top where Freddie thought the view was ‘amazing!’ More info on Table Mountain here. (coming shortly)

Freddie loved it here

Aquilla Nature Reserve, Freddie loved it here

It just so happens that African animals are amongst some of the favourite animals of young children and so it goes without saying that a venture to a safari park or one of the many wildlife centres will go down a treat with young travelers. We visited Aquilla Nature Reserve about 2.5 hrs from Cape Town.
laurensfordFamily friendly wine farms. You may think that the younger members of the family might not be welcome in the wine areas, think again! Many of the wineries around the Cape Town area have great family facilities from paddling pools, and water slides to picnic areas and pony rides or just open spaces to enjoy! Try Franschhoek for some inspiration.

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Kirstenbosch Sunday family concert

Kirstenbosch – lose yourself with the kids in one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world with children’s play areas and various events throughout the year including fabulous early Sunday evening concerts ideal for all the family with the glorious Table Mountain as an amazing back drop…

We loved Cape Town it is a beautiful part of the world, with an interesting history. We highly recommend a family holiday there. for more ideas visit the Cape Town official tourist website

Cuddledry Baby & Me Wash bag

We were sent the new Cuddledry Baby & Me Wash bag to review. Bronwyn, Kieran and Georgia took it on their recent trip to Euro Disney.
baby-and-me.jpgNormally when going away I have to pack 2 separate wash bags so the idea of having it all in one place sounded like a great idea to me. We were away for 2 nights and this wash bag was the perfect size. I feel this wash bag would be a bit small for a 2 week holiday but perfect for a long weekend/weeks holiday.

It has a separate waterproof section on each side which was great for toothbrushes or wet sponges etc. The 2 re fillable bottles were great to decant my little ones body wash and shampoo.

If you like to be organised, this wash bag is for you. Retailing at £24.99 it is on the higher end, price wise. It is made of a hight quality wipe clean material (inside and out) which is great if there are any leaks ! Click here to get your own!